Posts tagged ‘Superboy’

More Fun 107 – Green Arrow, Superboy, Johnny Quick and Aquaman end

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More Fun 107 (Jan/Feb 1946) was the last issue of the book to feature heroes.  With the following issue, Green Arrow, Superboy, Johnny Quick and Aquaman were all gone, moved en masse to the pages of Adventure Comics.  The comedic strip Dover and Clover was the only one to stick around, being joined by numerous other “funny” strips.

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The last adventure for Green Arrow and Speedy in this book have them struggling against a mathematical genius who is trying to help them with their case, unaware that the archers are intentionally laying a false trail to decoy the thieves.

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It’s a decent story.  The Arrowcar gets wrecked at the end of the tale, but it’s all fixed up (or replaced) by the time Green Arrow’s series in Adventure begins.

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Johnny Quick’s final tale gives Tubby Watts the larger role, and has excellent art by Mort Meskin.

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Johnny and Tubby are on a riverboat cruise, when Tubby falls overboard and winds up in the hands of gangsters, who hold him for ransom.  He is blissfully aware of the alligators menacing him.

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A fun little tale.  Glad this series carried on.

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Joe Shuster returns to the pencils for the last Superboy story in More Fun, which also finally gives young Clark Kent glasses.

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It’s a dynamic story, that has Superboy aiding a boy in a soap box derby.  Though you do have wonder what age he and his friends are – soap box derbies, marbles championships and yet a high school new editor!

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Similarly, if he is in high school, why is he punished by writing lines on a blackboard?  But ignoring the age issue, it’s a fairly good story.

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Aquaman’s final outing is bookended by an entertaining bit in a classroom as a teacher explaining that Aquaman never comes to the inland part of the USA.

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He is searching for a lost seal cub, and tracks him through the St. Lawrence Seaway, into the Great Lakes and over Niagara Falls.

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Overall, this issue is actually much better than some of the ones preceding it.  Likely why these series were all kept, rather than cancelled.

More Fun 106 – Clark Kent, editor of the school paper

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In More Fun 106 (Nov/Dec 1945) we discover that Clark Kent is the editor of his high school newspaper!  Neither he, nor any of the other boys drawn in this story, look old enough to have entered high school, never mind to be in a high enough grade to be the editor.  And just last issue he was playing marbles against similarly aged kids.

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Still, this isn’t a bad story.  If anything, it’s got more drama to it than the previous tales.  An over-eager reporter sidesteps Clark and has his story implicating the milk delivery service in a series of crimes printed in the paper.  Clark and the boy get into trouble, but further investigation reveals the boy was right (although not for the right reasons).

Clark uses his x-ray vision and super-hearing to spy on those behind the crimes, and then flies in and beats up the hoodlums.

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And while he still wears no glasses as Clark, at least in this story he has no scenes with people in both identities in quick succession.

 

More Fun 105 – Superboy plays marbles

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Superboy gets his first cover story in More Fun 105 (Sept/Oct 1945), and the cover even reflects the story, as Superboy plays marbles against other kids.

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There is a bit more to this story, pencilled by Joe Shuster.  Clark overhears a local plastics firm wishing they could contact Superboy, and quickly changes clothes and goes to see them.  They explain that they lost a secret formula, which is now residing inside a child’s marble.  This is the fishiest story imaginable, but Superboy believes it without question.

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Superboy sky-writes an announcement about the big marbles championship, but of course wins all the kids marbles himself.  He claims at one point to be doing his amazing shots without using his x-ray vision, but is he really?  It’s critical to the plot that he acquire all the marbles.  No reason to think he wouldn’t cheat in order to do so.

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In the long run he plays fair, returning as Clark Kent in order to lose all the marbles back to the kids, once the people at the plastics factory find their “missing formula.”  At least Clark takes the reward money and uses it to build a playground for the scammed youngsters.

And once again, with no glasses, how believable is it that the kids do not recognize that Clark is Superboy?

More Fun 103 – Superboy fights a caveman, and Aquaman delivers a lecture

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Superboy goes on a camp out with friends in More Fun 103 (May/June 1945).  Once again, Clark is wearing no glasses to disguise his identity, and you have to wonder why Joe Shuster thought this was a good idea.  The glasses were always the barest nod to the concept of disguising one’s identity, but at least it was something!  Without the glasses, it is beyond reason that Clark’s friends do not recognize him as Superboy.

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As with the rest of Superboy’s run in More Fun, there is no real supporting cast at all.  Ill-defined and never recurring “friends,” and some similarly anonymous police.  Not even the Kents are regular players in this strip.

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The story in this one is pleasantly diverting.  Clark and his friends explore some caves on their camp-out, and find a caveman, who is really a reclusive scientist, and some criminals hiding out.

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Aquaman gets into conflict with a university professor of marine biology in this story.

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Aquaman heads to a college to see if there us anything more he can learn about sea life, but instead makes a dramatic appearance at a lecture, arguing with the professor about a fish called “chaetodom triagulum.”

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Aquaman brings the professor out to sea to settle their argument, and despite his knowledge, the professor is scared of the reality of the ocean.

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All is well at story’s end.  Aquaman proves himself right about the fish, but the professor is just impressed, not jealous.

The reason this story made it into my blog is the heavy similarity between this character and the Sea Sleuth, a short-lived supporting cast member in the early years of Aquaman’s run in Adventure Comics.

More Fun 102 – Superboy’s first adventure

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Joe Shuster stays on board, doing the pencils for the Superboy story in More Fun 102 (March/April 1945).

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It’s a simple tale that has escaped felons taking over a raft that Clark and other boys are sailing on.  Superboy does not wear glasses as Clark in this story, so the fact that the one kid thinks Superboy and Clark are the same is far from surprising.

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There are no elaborate powers in this story, just flight and strength.  But that helps keep it at a very simple level, suiting the age of the character.

More Fun 101 – Green Arrow drives the Arrowcar, Superboy debuts, and the Spectre ends

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Green Arrow and Speedy share the cover to More Fun 101 (Jan/Feb 1945), with no hint at all that this issue also includes the debut of Superboy.

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An unusually dynamic splash page for the Green Arrow story in this issue.  The story deals with a formula for synthetic silk, and hoods trying to steal it.

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What makes this story worth inclusion is something else entirely.  Catch the upper panel in which the car is called the Arrow Car, instead of the Arrowplane!  It was a long time in coming, but from here on the car is always called a car, not a plane.

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Towards the end, the phrase arrow-lines is used again, to describe the ropes attached to the arrows.

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Superboy makes his debut in this issue, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  This brief story just details his origin.

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We get to see a bit more of the planet Krypton, rarely shown in these early days, as well as Jor-El and Lara.

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The elderly Kents adopt the young boy, and the story cuts to Clark looking maybe 10 or 11 years old.

Up to this point, there had never been the notion that Clark used his abilities before becoming an adult, and the Superboy character is the first step towards the notion of multiple, parallel, universes within the DC Universe, as this Superboy must be a different person to the Superman currently appearing in Action Comics and his own book.

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The story ends with young Clark showing off by lifting a car – the same activity as the cover of Action 1, which I doubt was just coincidence.

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To make room for the new Superboy series, the Spectre’s strip was brought to an end with this issue.  A year or more too late in my view.

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As had become the norm, this is primarily a story about Percival Popp and some wacky mix-ups with real gems and fake ones.

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The Spectre was no longer a part of the Justice Society by the time his series was cancelled, and his return had to wait until his appearance in Showcase in the mid-60s.

Adventure 458 – Superboy and Eclipso end

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Superboy’s second run in Adventure Comics comes to a close in issue 458, with the xenophobe story by David Michelinie, Joe Staton and Jack Abel.

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Thanks to his mental control of Ma and Pa Kent, Lester Wallac learns of the Phantom Zone projector, and uses it against Superboy, sending him to the Zone.  There Superboy encounters Zan-Em, who has been mentally influencing Wallace and controlling his actions!

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Seeing Wallace about to attack Lana Lang with a knife, Superboy defeats Zan-Em and re-emerges from the Zone.  With Zan-Em defeated, Wallace regains control of his mind, realizes what he has done, and uses the Phantom Zone projector on himself.

Superboy’s series moves briefly back into Superman Family.

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The conclusion of the Eclipso story by Len Wein and Joe Orlando reveals that, permanently split, Eclipso and Bruce Gordon will each fade from existence.  Eclipso has rigged a Zeiss projector to draw stellar power that will enable him to survive while Bruce perishes.

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But of course Bruce tracks him down, and the combination of the black diamond, and Professor Bennet’s re-rigging of the Zeiss projector re-merge Eclipso and Bruce Gordon.

An adequate Eclipso story, but nothing memorable.

Both Eclipso and Bruce Gordon next appear in the pages of Green Lantern through the early 80s.  Professor Bennet and Mona have to wait until Eclipso’s next solo outing for their returns, in the Eclipso: The Darkness Within mini-series and follow-up book in the mid-90s.

 

 

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